Clarifying the debt-trap allegations on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan is a staunch supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and is successfully implementing CPEC, the BRI major Pilot Project.

He quashed the debt-trap rumours by saying that the reality is that “CPEC has acted as a catalyst to boost socio-economic aspect of our bilateral relations with China,”adding, “we have seen implementation of development projects under the BRI across all the continents.”

The Prime Minister made the remarks ahead of his trip to China in a written interview with Chinese media here, hoping that the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing would achieve more fruitful results in integrating development strategies in the region and beyond.

Khan said six years after its inception, the BRI has become a reality and “an international public good” standing on a solid foundation to take off to the next stage of policy coordination, connectivity, trade, financial integration, people-to-people bonds.

“Recent announcements by certain western countries of joining the BRI will further boost the Initiative and its development,” he said, “the BRI promises inter-regional and intra-regional economic integration based on mutual prosperity and win-win cooperation. It will strengthen and promote economic globalisation and connectivity.”

Khan made his first China trip as Pakistani Prime Minister in November last year. He said that he reached a consensus with the Chinese leadership on the future trajectory of the CPEC and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to timely completion of on-going projects, as well as joint efforts for realisation of its full potential with a focus on socio-economic development, job creation, livelihoods and accelerating cooperation in industrial development, industrial parks and agriculture.

The Prime Minister, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in this year, said that China has dazzled the world with its stellar success in all walks of human endeavour and has made great strides in poverty alleviation, technology innovation, space-exploration and social harmony.

“As a developing country and friend of China, we are very pleased at China’s achievements and draw strength and inspiration from it,” he said, hoping that under the current leadership, China will “continue its march for great rejuvenation of Chinese nation as befitting its rich history, ancient civilisation and immense potential.”

Pakistan and China are all weather strategic cooperative partners and both countries have wide-ranging engagements in political, economic, defence and cultural spheres. He wished to further expand the scope and depth of bilateral ties which are based on mutual trust and understanding.

“We have always appreciated China’s strong and unequivocal commitment to Pakistan’s integrity and sovereignty.

We shall keep supporting China on all its core issues. We also endorse and appreciate China’s vision of a peaceful world in which progress and prosperity is shared by all, while challenges to global political and economic stability are resolved by a spirit of cooperation and dialogue, not by belligerence and brinkmanship,” said the Prime Minister.